While completing a double major in journalism and social work, Taylor Gerlach also serves as a mentor to children and a Georgia Recruitment Team Admissions Ambassador.

#GradyGrit: Meet Taylor Gerlach

Editor’s Note: #GradyGrit is a new series of profiles of Grady College students who show determination, leadership and outreach to the community. Search “#GradyGrit” on the Grady College website for additional profiles.

What is the best part about being a Grady student? 

I love being a part of a student body that is passionate about what they do. I’ve also really enjoyed gaining real, hands-on experience at Grady. While other programs are more theoretical or based on building a foundation of background knowledge, I love working with the equipment I’m going to be using in my real career and jumping right in. 

How did you decide to be a journalism major? 

I’ve always loved writing and being creative through photography and videography, but I saw them in two different spheres throughout high school with English and art classes separate. I love being able to combine all of those passions into one cohesive career! I’m also majoring in Social Work, and I hope to pair the two by using digital storytelling for social justice. Combining the two fields has given me even more tools to responsibly share stories with empathy. 

How has Grady impacted your college experience? 

Grady has introduced me to professors who teach and mentor with a contagious passion. Even required courses that I was dreading taking have turned into my favorite classes because of the knowledgable and compassionate people who teach them.

What is an example of a time you used Grady skills, such as at an internship/job? 

I’m applying for two internships this summer where I’ll use Grady skills every day. One is with Silent Images where I can assist a storytelling team in producing photography and videography with a social impact focus. The second internship is with Seacrest Studios in the Levine Children’s Hospital, where I can produce a daily radio show for children in the hospital with special celebrity guests, games with patients, etc.

What sets Grady students apart on campus? 

Grady students are the weird kids that come up to you and ask you for a photo for the photojournalism class (haha). I see Grady students that are firmly planted in the real world. They’re students who know that they are more than just students. They know that their career has a profound impact on the world and they don’t take that lightly.  

What do you love to write/report about? 

I love hearing and sharing people’s stories, so profiles are my favorite to write and shoot photos for.

Taylor Gerlach mentors children for the Whatever It Takes organization, a student-run program working to improve academic and healthy lifestyles.

What drives your motivation for community service?

When I moved to Athens in August 2018, I was determined to do just that: move here. I didn’t want to spend four years as a tourist. I wanted to connect with the community around me outside the perceived walls of campus. Maybe it’s the “social work major” in me, but I live to interact with others and understand their unique world and experience. I’ve always enjoyed exploring my community through service, and I love having the time and freedom to take that in so many different directions at UGA.

What do you think it means to show “Grady Grit”? 

To me, showing Grady Grit means using what we’re learning in a professional manner to impact our community. It means taking the skills and knowledge we learn in the classroom beyond those walls and beyond the borders of campus. 

How did you get started in CrossFit, what makes you enjoy it? 

I swam competitively in high school and our team did CrossFit as “land training.” When I stopped swimming, I still wanted to be active and be in a competitive, team atmosphere, so I went back to CrossFit. I love that it’s a new challenge every day, and it’s so conducive to building strong communities. 

What is one thing you’re really looking forward to? 

Interning this summer! I’m excited to use the skills I’ve been learning and build upon them outside of Athens!

Date: February 21, 2019

Editor:  Madeline Fiorante